– Jide Lawal
Receive the Word with a Ready Mind
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming there went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
As a much younger Christian, I was frequently encouraged to be a “Berean Christian”. Actually, the Bible speaks of Berean Jews. They were Jews living in Berea (now in modern-day Greece). The Thessalonian Jews heard the Word and promptly organized a riot to persecute Paul and Silas, at which point the apostles left their city and went to Berea.
Paul and Silas preached to the Berean Jews, and they showed a better attitude to the Word than the Thessalonian Jews. What was this attitude? The Bible tells us that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, which is the same thing as saying they paid it serious attention.
Acts 17 (The Bible in Basic English)
10 Now these were more noble than the Jews of Thessalonica, for they gave serious attention to the word, searching in the holy Writings every day, to see if these things were so.
19 Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger:
To receive the Word with all readiness of mind is to give the message a fair chance.
Sometimes when the Word of God is being preached, we do not pay serious attention. You can tell from some folks’ body language that they can’t wait for the preacher to be done. Some choose that time to get on their phone and catch up with all the likes and shares on Facebook. Others stare at the preacher, but they’re not seeing him, they are wondering which team will win the big game kicking-off by 5 p.m. later that day, or whether or not Freddy will propose to Fannie on Telemundo that evening.
For others, they pay attention, but they sit there with quite a number of pre-conceived notions in their minds. And once the preacher dares to say anything which does not agree with any of their pre-conceived notions, they switch-off mentally and begin to prepare a rebuttal to the preacher’s point!
Perhaps the best example of the correct attitude we should have in this respect is a that of the ideal trial judge. During the hearing of a court case, both sides hire lawyers who will say whatever they need to say to convince the judge their paymasters are right. During the case, the judge never once interrupts a lawyer who says something he believes to be wrong. He listens patiently, makes notes, and then goes into his chambers to study the law after which he writes and then delivers his judgement.
To receive the Word with a ready mind does not mean that you must believe everything the preacher says and swallow it hook, line and sinker. It means that you will careful attention and dissect what is being said, carefully comparing it with what the Bible says. Do not restrict yourself to only the Bible verses the preacher has referred to – compare the verses he quotes and the meaning he has given them to other Bible verses he may have been silent on.
1 Thessalonians 5
21 Test all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 John 4
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.[.blockquote]
Continue in grace!